For a few years now I’ve been trying to meditate every morning as part of my daily routine. I definitely notice a difference in how my day goes if I meditate in the morning so I am now trying to stick to the habit no matter what my schedule looks like.
To meditate I use an app called Headspace, it’s a paid app with a yearly subscription. It’s not cheap and the Canadian dollar conversion doesn’t help either, but I gladly pay for it and I soften the blow by saving a couple of bucks every month so that when payment comes I’m good to go. Also, the fact that it’s not a free app motivates me to be consistent and keep using it. There is a free trial of Headspace and I highly recommend giving it a go if you are interested in meditating. They now also offer a family plan so that may be a great choice for some. The meditations are guided by the founder of the app, Andy Puddicombe, and the whole system is easy, fun and completely geared towards beginners.
So of course after a while, my geeky side started having ideas about how to make my morning meditation easier with the use of technology. A couple of times my meditation was ruined when my phone started giving me alerts because I forgot to turn on the “Do Not Disturb” feature.
I turned to the internet and I found that someone had already created a super easy solution to the problem using Siri Shortcuts. Siri Shortcuts is a utility that groups together a series of actions that you can activate with a tap or a voice command. For example, you can run a shortcut that calculates the tip on a restaurant bill depending on the number of people paying, or you can ask Siri to find the closest coffee shop to your current location.
Creating a shortcut is very easy but if you’re not interested in building one yourself, you can download many that have been created by Apple or by other users. In my search for a shortcut that would avoid alerts from interrupting me during my meditation, I found one that turns on “Do Not Disturb” so it mutes all alerts and calls on your phone. This was perfect, I could run the shortcut, meditate without interruption and then it would turn my alerts back on. This was perfect, but I wanted to improve it so I started adding other commands and I came up with a better solution. These are the 3 steps in my shortcut:
- Ask me for how long I will meditate (my meditations can be 10, 15 or 20 minutes so I can choose this here).
- Turn on “Do Not Disturb” for the number of minutes above but add 2 more minutes in case I get distracted before I actually start meditating.
- Open the Headspace app for me so I can start meditating.
To run my shortcut I activate Siri and say “Let’s Meditate” (my assigned voice command for this shortcut) and the 3 steps above happen automatically.
This way I meditate without distractions and when I’m finished “Do not Disturb” is automatically turned off so I know I will receive alerts and calls again. Very cool.
This shortcut can also be used to block time to read, take a nap or do any activity where you don’t want to be interrupted.
Here’s the link to download my meditation shortcut and below that are the steps it includes. You can, of course, modify anything in the Siri Shortcuts app.